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Variety Weekly - September 2, 1953
(Article under Copyright)


With Frankie Thomas, Jan Merlin, Al Markim, Edward Bryce, Carter Blake, others
Producer: Allen Ducovny
Director: Ralph Ward
Writer: Albert Aley
30 Min., Sat., 11:30 a.m.
DuMont, from N.Y.

"Tom Corbett, Space Cadet," which Rockhill Productions has resurrected for International Shoe, shapes up as a good entry for the Saturday morning juve viewing time. But the initial presentation on DuMont last week was a shamefully snafued production, one that's inexusable in this advanced television age. Premiere was a conglomeration of flubbed lines, missed cues, forgotten musical background, and general production-direction amateurishness that got the series off to a very bad start, in spite of a highly acceptable script. Flubs went so far as to include a flash commercial for Kellogg, which isn't even connected with the show.

Assuming the flaws will be corrected within the next couple of showings - and corrected they'll have to be, if the show is to survive - the science fictioner should make good juvenile viewing on its alternate week schedule. Initial Albert Aley script has a Frank Merriwell flavor, as Tom Corbett (Frankie Thomas) and his Space Cadet sidekicks, as played by Jan Merlin and Al Markim, saved the old school (the Space Academy) from being eliminated by economy-minded bureaucrats.

Trick was turned by the trio's taking the visiting bigwig on a space flight to show him how the school trained cadets in teamwork and technical skill. Bigwig was unconvinced until they saved his wife and daughter from a spaceship in distress. This type of story line is to be encouraged in the kiddie field. There's no violence or brutality, yet it's the type of story that'll maintain interest throughout and keep the moppets tied to their seats.

Likewise, the technical science-fiction layout is convincing. Producer Albert Ducovny fashioned a believable spaceship layout as one of the sets, and Aley's terminology in convincing. Interspersed film clips are well chosen and fit smoothly into the story line.

On the thepsing side, all concerned had their difficulties on the opener. But cast is well-chosen; Thomas fits into the clean-cut category nicely, and Merlin and Markim make unstereotyped cadets. Edward Bryce is good as a space captain and Carter Blake makes a sympathetic school commander.

Once the kinks are ironed out, DuMont, International Shoe, and Rockhill should have a winner on their hands.


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